Renewable Power Generation - 2010 figures

David Hopwood

Special report. Part three: Wind market achieves steady year in 2010...

About the article: This special Renewable Energy Focus power generation focus previews REMIPEG's latest update, carried out in the first four months of 2011 by Lahmeyer International, and presents an overview for each renewable power sector, based on scenarios up to the end of 2010.

This article is taken from the July/August issue of Renewable Energy Focus (REFocus) magazine. For a free subscription, click here.

The market for wind energy continued to grow in 2010. By the end of that year, a grand total of more than 175,000 wind turbines - with a total capacity of approximately 197 GW - had been installed worldwide. 38 GW was installed in 2010, roughly equivalent to new installations in 2009, though some important markets such as the U.S. had their struggles, installing less than in the previous year.

The world market growth rate in terms of total installed capacity was about 25%, and the average growth rate over the five years to 2010 remains at 27%. The largest national market was China with 18.9 GW installed (seeTable below).

Turbine development: higher ratings; lower wind models

The development of the world market in 2010 put turbine manufacturers under pressure because of existing overcapacities, with the exception of China. As a result, turbine prices fell significantly compared with 2009, and are expected to remain at a similar level moving forward. This effect positively impacts on the payback costs of today's generation of projects.

Vestas remained the largest turbine manufacturer at the end of 2010, both in terms of accumulated installed capacity (approximately 23%) and 2010 market share (14.8%).

In second place was Sinovel from China, which outran GE Wind in 2010. Due to a strong domestic market, two turbine manufacturers from China were in the top five in 2010, along with four in the top 10. Chinese suppliers are also now beginning to target markets outside of China. Goldwind, for example, recently acquired the 106.5 MW Shady Oaks project in Illinois, U.S., and is planning to install 70 of its 1.5 MW direct drive turbines on this site in 2011.

The general trend towards larger turbines continued in 2011 too, with recent commercial turbine launches including, amongst others, the 4.5 MW Gamesa G136, and the 3 MW Enercon E101. And some of the largest turbines in the market have now been upgraded to reflect higher power outputs. This includes, for example, the REpower 5M, now referred to as 6M, and the Enercon E-126. The 6M now has a rated capacity of 6.15 MW while the Enercon E-126 is available with 7.5 MW of rated capacity.

The first of these Enercon models was installed at the beginning of 2011 in Magdeburg-Rothensee in Germany, and is now the largest turbine in the world. However, they are still at the beginning of series production.

A further trend is the introduction of turbines for lower wind regime sites that use larger rotor diameters; and also higher towers.

Two examples are the Nordex N117, a 2.4 MW turbine with a 117 m rotor diameter, and the Siemens SWT2.3-113, 2.3 MW turbine with a 113 m rotor diameter. Also, where height restrictions allow, large towers are being used to optimise the energy yield and energy generation costs at some sites. For example, GE Wind has towers at 130m, Enercon – 138m, Nordex – 140m, and REpower – 143m.

There are several new machines that have been launched within the past year or so that could significantly alter the economics of wind. Experts believe that Siemens' SWT101-3.0MW (direct drive/permanent magnet generator) and the Vestas V112-3.0MW (geared/permanent magnet generator) are game-changers.

The Siemens machine, launched in April 2010, is expected to greatly improve reliability (radically fewer parts, no gearbox to replace); and the new Vestas V164 turbine, launched in September 2010, features a swept area that is 55% greater than the V90, enabling it to extract much more energy from today's low-to-medium wind sites.

With respect to the SWT2.3-113 and SWT101-3.0, it is also worthwhile mentioning that these are direct drive turbines, which represent another visible trend in the industry. An increasing number of turbine manufacturers, focused in the past on geared drive trains, are introducing direct drive machine concepts.

But this isn't the case across the board, as Vestas demonstrated with the recent launch of its V164, which bucked the direct drive trend, preferring a geared solution.

Offshore/onshore development

Even though the wind market as a whole is heavily dominated by onshore projects, the pace of offshore wind energy development is increasing, with about 1.4 GW installed in 2010, approximately double that installed in 2009.

The UK continues to be the main offshore wind market, accounting for about 0.9 GW of the 2010 installed capacity. Nevertheless, other markets are starting to pick up too, such as Germany – where the 60 MW demonstration project Alpha Ventus was completed, and commercial projects such as the Bard Offshore 1 and Baltic I were under construction. The largest offshore projects currently operating are the 300 MW Thanet Phase I in the UK, and the 209.3 MW Horns Rev 2 and 207 MW Roeds and 2 projects in Denmark.

Further large projects remain under construction, including the 630 MW Phase I of the UK's London Array project, the 504 MW Greater Gabbard project, also in the UK, as well as Phases II and III of the 325 MW Thornton Bank project in Belgium. Thornton Bank achieved project finance in 2010 from a consortium of banks. This made it the largest offshore wind project to have achieved finance by the end of 2010.

Summary of the global wind power markets, data as of the end of 2010 (sources: BTM Consult ApS: World market update 2010 Forecast 2011-2015; WWEA: World Wind Energy Report 2010; experts' estimates.)
  Cumulated installed capacity 2010 (GW) Newly installed capacity 2010 (GW) Estimated electricity generation 2010 (TWh/year)
Europe 87.5 11 192
North America 44.2 6.1 107
South America 2.7 0.5 3
Asia & Oceania 58.3 21.1 120
Africa 1.1 0.1 2
ROW 5.7
World total 197
38 430
Largest national market China 44.8 China 18.9  80.6
Offshore (of above) 3.5 1.4  

  Part four: Solar (PV) hit the heights in 2010 despite market concerns...




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Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power